Sunday 12 July 2015

Birthday treats

So since I last posted I've had a birthday. They definitely come quicker as you get older. It was a nice day the sun was out, I went for a meal and then watched a film. Also the postman called with an Ebay purchase. A vintage cantilever seeing box. I have been after one if these since I saw my friends and sadly the lid had fallen off my old sewing box. I love it even its history a present from the kids.

So I sat in the morning sun and sorted the box out. Decided I needed a new pincushion as the one I used wouldnt fit in the box.  Years ago my daughter made me a pin cushion at school it was made from a plastic milk bottle  top.  It had stuffed fabric on the top and a hair elastic to fit on the wrist something like these

I found it incredibly useful it wasn't heavy on the wrist. In time the hair band stretched but also the plastic cap base wasn't quite wide enough for all the pins, sometime I would miss and catch my skin. so I thought I would make one but modify it.
So I found a wide plastic bottle top, mine was from a hot chocolate container about 2 1/2" wide and went from there.
The tape around the side is bias which I glued.
I densly stuffed a ball shape with unwashed sheep wool (which I'd read is good for the pins) using a cotton sheeting.
I then laid an old cashmere jumper over top. I wanted to use natural fibres throughout.  To anchor  it all down so it was compressed and so I could sew it to the tape I wound cotton around the whole thing, imagine winding a ball of wool. Then I could stitch it without any pins in, then  cut away the cotton when finished.
The strap was some velvet like furnishing braid which I glued  to the base then covered the base and anchoring the straps with sitches. Press stud to finish

To finish off isn't this a delightful giftbag from my daughter I love it and want to use it, too nice to be thrown away, but dont know how. Any ideas?

Thursday 9 July 2015

A rucksack for Amy

I was fortunate to be given some old curtains, vintage as well. My daughters friend fell in love with some William Morris ones and somehow I offered to make a rucksack for her for when she goes to university. We drafted up some ideas. I had some leather samples, just liitle squares so she asked if I could make pockets with them one blue one green  a zipped pocket on the back for security and an inner zipped pocket.

I must admit it  came together like a breeze. It was so good not to use a pattern and let my creative juices flow. I didn't want to put it down I was engrossed.

 I wish I get more creative with my dressmsking. You know embroidering, appliqué even patchworking pieces before cutting out. I once saw a lady who had a marvellous pea coat and each piece was a different fabric they were like curtain fabrics. It was inspiring, crazy and fun all at once.

  I made a shoulder strap  and interlined it for comfort and more support. I only needed to purchase the straps and fasteners. Everything else was available which was great.

As you can imagine she is delighted with it.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Finding the missing pieces

When I reach the end of a project be it knitting or sewing, I start thinking of the next one. It gees me up to finish the current project.  I was scouring the net looking for material and was overwelmed. Got sidetracked like I do, and got onto a blog about how we would be happier with less choices in our wardrobe.  Well I may agree to differ, but if I remember right  she said to take everything out of your wardrobe and route through it, and keep x amount of pieces.

So the next day I took everything out, sieved through the clothes  filled a charity bag then sorted the remainder into piles and observed.
It was an interesting experiment, I discovered
A. I don't need any summer clothes. But that won't stop me.
B. I do not need any more white tops at present I have seven. 
C. I need lots of winter clothing. I'm drawn to summer clothing because of the bright colours and patterns, but winter clothing doesn't have to look dreary and dark.
D. I do not have any casual jackets or a waterproof  raincoat.

I noticed I wear a lot of  strong contrasts. Bright colours, no muted colours  and hardly any black in my wardrobe

 As you can see limited space, so pieces have to work twice as hard.
There sorted. So now I know what is !missing and what to sew next and what fabric to look for.
A white summer skirt
A waterproof coat/jacket
Winter skirts or trousers.
A casual jacket.
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Tuesday 16 June 2015

Vogue 1042 OOP

When I first bought this pattern it had everything I like in a top. Low neckline and fitted bodice. I'd previously mentioned it on this blog good luck with thst one, commrnted somebody, which wasn't very promising. I knew if I conquered it I would love it but I didn't realise how much

The fabric 100% linen was originally intended for a skirt but when it arrived it was too thin. I decided to  attempt the top but wondered if I could do it justice.
This pattern wasnt easy I made so many adjustments that Ive lost track. I made a sample first( a first for me but it paid off) I was adament I didn't want my bust not sitting in the cups like a bad fit. Looking at the pattern and having a full bust here is how I achieved it.
1. I took a vertical fold out  on the centre front, there was a good two inch gap between the cups on centre front, which I do not have. What I took out I added in my new cup width.
2. I took the measurements for the cup from a bra that fitted me, I added width and lots of depth.  I remade my cup pieces from scratch copying the notches grain etc, and following the bra shape. I reshaped the back strap to stop it gaping  taking in a pleat before cutting out, and I also curved the strap  shoulder seam so it sits on my tiny shoulders.  As my bust is large it didnt leavevmuch room at the armhole edge seem fot my straps to sit. Thus resulting in the straps sitting on the edge of my shoulders, if you catch my drift.  With numerous fittings my fabric stretched at the lower edge and trying to add the peplum which is cut on the straight proved tricky. If I want to nit pick I maybe should have taken an inch off the bodice as it is rolling over, but a narrow belt will rectify that.  I didn't fit the peplum to my hips  as I liked how it looks. I hope to make another but maybe take the bodice  longer and omit the peplum trim.  The skirt I self drafted a few summers ago.

Top   _Vogue 2042.
Skirt _ self drafted

 awkward project pics !!

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Friday 29 May 2015

Sewing table in progress

its fair to say my house is the size of a postage stamp. Trying to sew and hoard my equipment etc is a challenge in itself. I have sewn in nearly every corner of my home. And the conclusion is the dining/kitchen table works best.
I've had numerous tables of all  shapes and sizes. Basically I needed a narrow table for the galley kitchen  for easy access, not too large with the ability to cut  out fabric, and accommodate family gatherings when needed.
My new neighbour was clearing out an outhouse. An old table had been left.  "That can go I dont like that" she said.
"If your throwing it out may I have it".  So now I think in have my perfect table (apart from the hideous legs).
Yesterday we started renovating it, sanding the top down its a nice oak finish. I think  we will paint the legs.  Today the rain is here so I will not be able to continue sanding.
 Fully extended perfect for cutting out and quilting.

Even with one leaf extended it fits snugly in the recess, making a reasonable sewing space. A great triumph here at no. 23. I'm well chuffed,
How do you all sew if you have no sewing room?

Wednesday 27 May 2015

a summer skirt that makes me smile

so I  will not go on about my absence. I have been up to my usual, sewing, knitting, gardening and work.

The socks I am knitting seem to be going on for ever. Only four more inches and they are finished, I call them the free socks as they are leftovers from previous makes.
Dressmaking wise I have had a few waders, they rock my confidence, hopefully I can salvage the fabric. Today I am wearing a simple straight skirt self drafted using the skirt piece from a shift pattern. This is patchwork fabric and though it is light and airy, it creases terribly. I cut the front into three panels and added pockets, which worked out well. I'm pleased with the pattern matching


My computer has died so I m struggling with a tablet and blogging is limited. My son looked at my tablet as I was having trouble using blogger.  It turned out the comment section was locked. It has now been corrected and I ve since had some comments. Thank you for welcoming  me back.

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Meet my Bernina 1008

Well she arrived and here she is.  Lets just take a  pause and soak up this moment before I open the box, because I know I will never be here again owning a brand new sewing machine, a precious moment.

It is a Bernina 1008.  Not unsimilar to my previous machine  1020 that I was told needed stripping back and rebuilding again (after a disastrous repair experience) I chose this model solely because it was the nearest to that machine which I loved, and I could use all the accessories that I already had.

The machine is  a lower spec machine to my 1020 and when I first started testing it out, I couldn't help but compare it.  There are less fancy stitches,   no half speed option, no knee lifter,no tacking stitch and no auto bobbin wind.   If I'm honest (without sounding ungrateful) I was a tad disappointed.  I thought It would always be in the shadow of my beloved 1020.

But there is good news.   When I got sewing properly with it all thoughts of the 1020 disappeared, its all about how it handles when you are sewing with it, it felt good like I hoped it would. I can control the foot pedal so it can go really slow.  The fancy stitches, well I only used a few, and I'm sure I will get used to the bobbin winding. The machine sews like a dream.

I like heavy metal machines not plastic ones.  I'm not into fancy stitches but techniques.  I just want a good buttonhole and a reliable machine (touch wood) that purrs like a kitten, and if that is what you like you will love the Bernina 1008.

I shall call her Lucky wish is how I feel.  Now to plan some sewing.

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Sunday 8 February 2015

Waiting for a Delivery


Im expecting a special delivery today.  Im so excited (so excited that I'm blogging about it before it arrives!)
I know this bundle of joy will bring so much happiness to No.23, and we will have some great times together. 
So when she's settled in I will post about her tomorrow.   
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Thursday 22 January 2015

Vibrant orange Vogue 8750

Its been a while since I posted a project here.  Ive had a lot of problems with the old Bernina.  Sadly after 2 trips to be repaired (the second to try and sort out the mess that the first repair-man made) I have had to accept there is just too much work to be done. The Bernina technician said "It's repairable, but it needs stripping back and rebuilding" which  of course would have cost too much. So out has come the old Janome, and I'm getting used to it again.  It will do the basics and I can sew again, until I can afford a new Bernina.

I picked up a remnant of  vibrant  orange thick wool upholstery material, with a slight boucle texture.   Not a colour I usually wear, but I thought I could get away with it if I wore it away from my face.
I instantly fell in love with the energy in the colour and of course the price £2.00. There was just a metre with a flaw running down the middle hence the price.  There had to be something I could make with it.

The orange is so cheerful just right for the English winters and the "January Blues" (something I don't actually suffer from, but many do).  I struggled for two evenings with my patterns juggling them around, and folding the fabric in different ways. I finally worked out a way I could  squeeze Vogue 8750 making version A.
  V8750, Misses' SkirtLine Art

I've made this skirt 3 times now, my first piece posted here. I wasn't happy with the result of it first time, poor fabric choice not enough weight to it. I've since made it in a thicker wool fabric and it worked well.   The thicker fabric definitely shows off the style and top stitching details, I've even mastered the dreaded curves.
I really love this pattern and the finish skirt  and I now find it  easy to make  and it somehow reminds me of 60's retro feel with the curves in it. I'm sure I shall make more.

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Sunday 19 January 2014

Knitting Project Bag

Well sadly I didn't get the job. There were 3 other people  being interviewed, it seemed to go well, but obviously not well enough! You see I have a record where every job I have had an interview for I have been fortunate to be offered the job. Now that bubble has burst. I have to say I was gutted. A for my record being broken and B for not securing the job. I would have enjoyed it, but it wasn't to be. Never mind Onward  and Upward.  

This weekend it has been so wet here.  But I decided to pop into town and do a bit of shopping.  I managed to come home with a fat quarter of fabric and pondered what to do with it.  So today I made this
A project bag to store my knitting.  Its ideal as I tend to knit small objects, i.e. socks, gloves, hats, which I carry around with me in my  bag.

I simply lined it with some available  fabric. I didnt put anything in between the two layers, as I wanted to keep it light and soft.

Now I am a big fan of  circular and sets of 4 knitting, in fact it could be responsible for re kindling my love of knitting.  I love the Knit Pro range (I may have told you this before)  So with the remainder of the fabric I was able to make an organiser to store all my new needles

I love the concept, even if it is all a little fussy.  But Im not wearing it so it doesnt really matter. It was a great way to us the vintage panel squares. Ideally I would have used another colour fabric with it, but white is all I had.  Its also quite compact when folded up.

Ive so enjoyed knitting and crocheting with the cold nights these last few months.  Thankfully the nights are slowly getting lighter, I love to observe how light its becoming on a daily basis, and how later in the day I am closing the curtains on an evening. Roll on 
lighter and warmer days.

I have to confess I havent been inspired to dressmake, I keep looking at the patterns but nothing has excited me, until I spotted this dress pattern in Vogues Spring collection  Vogue 1381.    Im smitten, so in love with it.  I cannot wait for them to stock it in the UK so I can get my discount from my magazine subsciption. Talking of which,  just take a look at what is on the front of my magazine which was delivered this Saturday 

Just look at that quilting/stitching detail isnt it heavenly. I did say I was in love with it.
I cant wait

Sunday 5 January 2014

A New haircut

  Yesterday I went to the hairdressers and had a haircut, my hair has been in such a mess its also been falling out in handfuls, which has been worrying and also embarrassing, leaving a trail behind me. It got so bad the children threatened to buy me a hairnet.  Ive been told it was the stress from when I was rushed into hospital, anyway its settled down now and hopefully it will grow back.  As a result my  haircut looks completely different a lot wispier.  Thankfully I had a good mop of hair to begin with and it should grow back. 
Apart from needing a good trim  the other reason I needed a haircut is because I am going to a job interview on Tuesday.  Before Christmas I applied for an admin job, the position was inundated with applications, so they asked 8 people to come and do a word/excel test, I was asked to come and do one.  I was so nervous as I havent used Excel since 2000 when I did a short course, so I tried to brush up on You tube.  I arrived early for my interview, the interviewees were late back from lunch.  Then the computer wouldnt work.  It was a diddy laptop with windows xp.  I had half an hour for my test, yet I could have done with half an hour just to familiarise myself  with the computer.  They kindly gave me  an extra 5  minutes because of the slow start.  In the middle of my test the next applicant arrived, which I found very off putting.  I came away convinced I had made a complete mess of it all, thinking I should have done it all differently.  As I didnt hear from them I assumed I hadnt got an interview.  But a few days later than anticipated I received an email asking me to attend a panel interview, so I must have done something right, not sure what though.  Now what do I wear for an interview?

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Thursday 2 January 2014

A good start

What a productive couple of days I have had. Its amazing what affect a New Year can have on my spirits.  I have finally  finished the hitchhiker scarf. I realised looking at my blog that I started it on 1st December, so I set myself a challenge to finish it before the end of the year, which I did.   Its very warm and I like it, though you wouldnt think it looking at the serious expression on my face!

Ive also started crocheting a  blanket.  I took advantage of the Drops Alpaca sale with 25% off, and topped up my stash of alpaca.
Love this wool, Love the colours, yummy. 
Im doing this pattern and these are my colours. A bright centre, light middle section, just using one colour (wasnt sure how that would work) and the blue/grey outer. Its a nice pattern, but I am finding it awkward joining the pieces as you go, its handling the weight of the blanket as I work it pulls on my crochet hook.

 Ive started already, thought I would make up a small group to see if the colours worked etc. Im happy with it, but its going to be along time in the making.    
 Ive worked out to make a blanket the size I want, I will need 11 more of these blocks of 24 squares, equalling  288 squares. 1 block like the above a month to finish in time for next Christmas, thats quite a commitment, hope I can achieve it.  Ive been doing my sums to find out if Ive enough wool, as I wast using the same ply wool as the pattern. Its so complicated working out the amount, there must be easy way. Its the main blue that I am most bothered about, I need to have all the same dyelots.  Ive weighed what Ivd used and I think I will need another 2 balls.

On the sewing front Ive shortened a pair of trousers, for a friend, that had been sitting around since before Christmas.  One of those projects the longer you leave it the more you dont want to do it. I also altered the 2 garments I wasnt happy with from my 2013 makes (pictures to follow)  So yes a good start to 2014.  Now I need a portable knitting project to carry around in my handbag something simple and small.  I must pop over to Ravelry.  
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